WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Three new officers were sworn into the Warren Police Department on Monday. As the new hires are joining the force, what happened in Westerville over the weekend is still fresh on everyone’s minds.
It’s no secret that police work is a dangerous profession.
“We’re gonna do everything we can to make them safe,” Chief Eric Merkel said to the families of Warren’s new officers.
“Feel safe and feel assured that they’re gonna receive the best and be in the best of hands for years and years to come,” Mayor Doug Franklin said.
Even though the latest line-of-duty deaths in Ohio happened 160 miles away in Westerville, the murders of Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli weigh heavily on the minds of Warren’s leaders.
“We need to be honest. It’s a dangerous profession, as you’ve seen in Girard and Columbus, Westerville and some of the other areas around the country where officers have given their life for this profession,” Merkel said.
Even knowing the risks, these new hires aren’t backing down.
“I realized that this was a department that I really wanted to work for,” Patrolman Noah Linnen said.
He, along with John McGinley and Tom Wire, swore to protect and serve, taking the oath to join the force.
“It’s always kind of in the back of your mind,” Wire said. “It’s just part of the job. It’s something that throughout the academy and throughout your working environment, you kind of learn to deal with.”
“Work hard, train hard and stay vigilant,” McGinley said. “Everybody just wants to go home safe.”
Linnen, McGinley and Wire were all hired on money from the half-percent income tax voters passed in November of 2016.
“These new officers are one of the products of that increase that enables us to continue to populate the police department and make sure the city remains safe,” said Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa.
With one retirement coming up this week, the number of officers at Warren PD will be 61. City leaders would like to bring that number up to 70 so they can qualify for a grant that would allow them to put even more officers on the streets.